China Earthquake: Over 120 Dead and Hundreds Injured

Northwest China has been hit by a powerful earthquake, killing at least 127 people and leaving hundreds injured. The 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck Gansu province around midnight on Monday, through the mountainous region and neighboring Qinghai.

China Earthquake: Over 120 Dead and Hundreds Injured

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The earthquake in Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture, unfolded destruction as entire villages were split, buildings collapsed, and houses crumbled.

Terrifying moments were captured on state TV and social media, showing diners sprinting out of a restaurant and residents huddling over fires at evacuation camps. The tremors were described by survivors as feeling like being tossed by surging waves.

The worst-hit area, Jishishan county, reported over 5,000 damaged buildings, highlighting the catastrophe.

Mudslides triggered by the quake further exacerbated the situation, damaging many homes and roads in the province. Reports attribute the damage to poor building quality, with many homes being old and made of clay.

Situated between the Tibetan and Loess plateaus, Gansu is one of China’s poorest and most diverse regions.

The province, bordering Mongolia, has often faced challenges associated with its location and diverse population.

The earthquake’s impact has been particularly severe in this already marginalized area, compounding the difficulties faced by the affected communities.

The location in the Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture holds due to its diverse ethnic composition, home to Chinese Muslim groups such as the Hui, Bonan, Dongxiang, and Salar people.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping has taken action, ordering thousands of rescue personnel to the region and addressing the importance of search and rescue operations, timely medical treatment, and minimizing casualties.

The sub-zero temperatures, reaching as low as -15°C, pose a challenge for rescue operations. Wang Yi, chief commander of the Blue Sky Rescue Team, China’s largest non-governmental humanitarian organization, said the difficulty of working in such extreme cold.

Differing reports on the earthquake’s magnitude helps understand the event. While Chinese authorities state a magnitude of 6.2 on the Richter scale, the US Geological Survey (USGS) recorded it as 5.9.

China’s seismic vulnerability is rooted in its geographical location, where several tectonic plates converge, making it prone to earthquakes.

The country has faced earthquakes in the past, with the 2008 Sichuan earthquake being the most catastrophic, claiming the lives of 87,000 people.

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As news of the earthquake spread, Taiwan, despite diplomatic tensions with China, offered condolences and assistance. The people response reflects a shared concern for human welfare, transcending geopolitical differences during times of crisis.

Rescue teams, comprising firefighters, soldiers, and police officers, face the task of navigating damaged roads and infrastructure to reach affected areas. Landslides triggered by the earthquake further impede their progress.

Tents, folding beds, quilts, and essential supplies are being dispatched to the affected region to provide temporary shelter and warmth. The government has allocated emergency relief funds to support rescue and relief efforts.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen expressed sympathy and offered help, while the interim prime minister of Pakistan, a Chinese ally, conveyed deep sadness over the tragedy.

Gansu province lies on the border between the Tibetan and Han Chinese regions, making it a geographically and culturally diverse area.

The quake has not only brought about a humanitarian crisis but also highlighted the vulnerability of such remote regions.

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